A clean slate

When you go through the violent experience of depression and suicide attempts because you cannot function anymore, you realize that you cannot continue living the same way and expect a different outlook in life.

When you experience a sadness that literally makes you unable to breath, and that leads you to think killing yourself would be the best possible solution, you cannot survive and believe you will be cured without changing.

When waking up in the morning alive is the worst thing that happens to you, you realize eventually that there is no more business as usual…

You need a clean slate.

That is no easy matter. I would like to entertain two notions. The notion of reason and logical thinking, and the notion of thresholds.

Logical wise thinking would assume that to feel satisfied you should rely on inner resources. You should view the world around you in a way where the one variable is you: you decide how to react, how to feel, and how to think about the million stimuli that bombard you daily. Whether you react to a song, a conversation, or to a thought in your past. It is your choice says the wise man. Grow up. It is your choice.

I can decide to be happy. I can decide to be positive. I can decide to be “in charge”. I own my life and I will act and feel accordingly. Ok.

Yet this beautiful theory ignores an element that changes everything: threshold. This is a personal attribute that varies greatly and depends on so many factors. For example, you have a physical threshold for hunger, thirst and so forth that is calculated according to your weight maybe, your BMI, how health you are, last time you ate and drank, and maybe the reason for which you are without food and water. Someone in a hunger strike might have a higher threshold than someone who is being deprived of food for other reasons, say famine or war. Yet, at the end, they both reach a point where it is unbearable to continue. When, is the question here.

Similarly, you can have an emotional threshold. I cannot watch horror movies – my threshold is zero tolerance here. Yours might be different. You might find them genuinely amusing. We would both be terrified should we become exposed to a situation with a serial killer trying to catch us. We can argue that a paranoid person would find hallucinating about being the next victim in a murder spree, feels equally terrified.

When the threat is eminent or at least is strongly believed to be, the threshold for tolerance of stress is very low. Not so easy now to think that you can be happy, or that you should remain positive, or better put the needs of the aggressor first, and try to understand that they are really a victim of their circumstances. Yes it is about you, though others might say otherwise. What can you do?

If you overcome suicide you ideally want to start fresh. You never want to go back to being in misery. You adopt maybe this motto of I am in charge, but you soon discover that your threshold is screwed up. Your sanity does not depend on you only. You know it. It is very real to you.

I know that if I keep ignoring certain things that led to my previous despair like I did in the past, especially now that my threshold for stress is minimal, I will end up in an ER. I really don’t want to.

I woke up from my mental attack to find me forced to change and the world around me is the same. So I am faced with a serious question. If I cannot ignore certain topics and the feelings that they create; if I cannot deal with the misery they trigger in me; and if I cannot change the problem and the people who created them in the first place; how can I not end in an ER in a year’s time?

Tell me about your threshold. Tell me about how you changed after your depression or most acute attack.

Is the same stuff making you tick? Do you still feel fragile and worry about breaking down? Were you able to regain you sanity? Are you really in charge a 100% or are there issues that remain out of hand and out of control? Do you feel an urge to resolve something but feel it is not in your hands?

Bless,

TBC

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